Holiday Gift Ideas : Soaps, Creams, Makeup and More

In the last part of my holiday gift series, I’ve put together another eclectic collection of my favorite things. Some of them are scented, others are simply pretty: beautifully wrapped soaps, decadent body creams, jewel-like makeup … and cat shaped lipsticks.

Rancé Iris Royal Box of 6 Soaps

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Rancé has been making soaps since 1795, and purportedly the formulas remain unchanged. While I highly doubt it, the quality of their soaps is excellent. They’re triple milled, which means that the bars stay firm and last well. They’re scented with high-quality essences, and the aroma lingers delicately on your skin. Even those with sensitive skin–and I’m one of those people–won’t find this soap drying or irritating. Finally, the packaging is stunning, making Rancé’s soap sets a beautiful present.

Iris Royal smells of violet petals and green roots. Another favorite is Rose (fresh tea roses), Gardenia (a fantasy white flower with peach), and Acqua di Colonia (classical citrus). Box of 6 Soaps, 6x 100g, $58. Available at Luckyscent.

Andrea Garland Vintage Inspired Pill Box with Lip Balm
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Andrea Garland’s jewelry is lovely, and the fact that the pieces come filled with lip balm makes them even more interesting. The lily of the valley pill box is my favorite, but Garland’s collection includes other vintage inspired designs. $24. Available at Beautyhabit.

Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Body Moisturizer

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I’ve been in love with Kiehl’s Creme de Corps for the past 15 years, and for me, it’s still one of the best body creams to use in the winter. It has a rich, creamy texture, and it leaves skin soft, supple and protected against the drying air of central heating. It feels decadent when applied, and the delicate scent that reminds me of herbal tisane is not strong enough to clash with whatever perfume I choose to wear. Available in different sizes, starting at 2.5oz/$11.

Taylor of Old Bond Street Super Badger Brush & Sandalwood Bowl Box Set

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Previously I’ve included the Art of Shaving set, but this year, my husband tried the Taylor of Old Bond Street sandalwood cream and liked it enough to switch. Gentlemen using the Super Badger Shaving Brush also mention that it’s top-notch. Super Badger Shaving Brush (S2233) & Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl (150g), £53. www.tayloroldbondst.co.uk. The website features many other brushes, creams and kits.

Balmain Coffret Nail Couture

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After launching a hair styling collection, Balmain has introduced a nail polish set based on its couture show. The collection includes black, red, and nude polishes, and a top coat. The formulas are gentle and the polish lasts well without chipping. 67.80€. Available at Balmain boutiques and Galeries Lafayette.

Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge Collection

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For Christmas, Tom Ford created two collections inspired by his perfume Jasmin Rouge. One set is based on purple hues and includes Rouge Fatal lipstick and Shameless nail polish. The other is all about cherry reds–Vampire Kiss lipstick and Trophy Wife nail polish.  The quality is excellent, but at Tom Ford’s prices, it really should be. The lipstick is one of the most pigmented I have tried and it lasts really well. The nail polish is easy to apply and quick to dry, and it remains glossy and vibrant for several days. Lipstick, 46 €, nail polish, 32 €. Available at Tom Ford counters.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain

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I’m happy to treat beauty mavens to Tom Ford’s makeup, but for myself, I’ll stick with the YSL Glossy Stains. It’s a miracle lipstick as far as I’m concerned: it wears for the entire day and stays glossy (but not sticky). It lasts through a meal and keeps its vibrant color. My favorite shades are 7 (soft apricot-pink, perfect to balance out a smokey eye), 31 (pink-coral), and 10 (bright raspberry-red and needs only a coat of mascara to complete the look). $34. Available at Sephora and all YSL counters.

Paul & Joe Cat Collection

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Every holiday season, Paul & Joe releases its whimsical cat collection of cat embossed eyeshadows and feline shaped lipstick and blusher sticks. Every year it sells out within weeks, as if no makeup bag is complete without a cat shaped lipstick. I find the idea more amusing than practical, but everyone to whom I gave a cat shaped lipstick last year still talks about it.

Cat embellished or not, the makeup from Paul & Joe is very good. The lipsticks come in a wide range of shades, from the understated nudes to the Hollywood starlet reds. The long lasting cream blushers are easy to blend. The packaging has a retro-chic style, for which Paul & Joe is famous.  Paul & Joe Cat Collection Blusher Sticks, €28.77; lipstick (cat-shaped and regular), $20. Available at Beautyhabit, Urban Outfitters, Asos.com.

Dior Christmas Lips and Nails Palette

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A charming Christmas lips and nails palette from Dior includes Crème de Rose lip balm, Dior Addict Extreme lipcolor, Dior Addict Gloss lipgloss, mini Dior Vernis nail lacquer in true red, and one double-ended applicator. £48. Available at Selfridges and other Dior counters.

Santa Maria Novella Lavender Wax Tablets

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Santa Maria Novella’s Wax Tablets for Closets or Drawers are made of 100% organic beeswax and scented with lavender (Lavanda), rose (Rose) or a spicy blend of cinnamon and cloves (Relax). They can be used to perfume linen closets or hung in a room to scent the space. Box of 2/$34. Available at Aedes.

Frédéric Malle in Liberty Print

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Frédéric Malle has given his perfume bottles a different look with the 18 hand-selected prints pulled from the archives of Liberty department store in London. It’s a limited edition collection, and it explores a link between scents and colors. The perfumes have stayed unchanged. Available at Liberty and Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfum.

Clarins Box of Six Christmas Crackers

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Clarins is offering a great set of its quintessential beauty products: the all-time favorite Beauty Flash Balm (30ml), Hand & Nail Treatment Cream (50ml), Gentle Refiner (30ml), Eau des Jardins (30ml) and miniatures of Rouge Eclat lipstick (Woodrose) and Wonder Perfect Mascara. It’s an excellent value at £39, and the only downside is that the set is exclusive to Selfridges this year.

Eau Dynamisante Wake Up Treats Collection

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More easily available is Clarins’s Eau Dynamisante set. The uplifting herbal-floral blend comes in a kit with Eau Dynamisante Invigorating Fragrance Spray 100ml, Eau Dynamisante Moisturising Body Lotion 100ml and Eau Dynamisante Shower Gel 50ml. £30. Available at Clarins counters.

Laure Mercier Soufflé Body Crème Sampler Collection

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If you like gourmand scents and ultra-nourishing creams, Soufflé Body Crèmes are worth trying. The creams’ rich texture is derived from shea butter and macadamia nut oil, and the scents are likewise indulgent: Almond Coconut Milk, Ambre Vanillé, Crème Brûlée and Crème de Pistache. Definitely for those with a sweet tooth! The jars are not breakable, so they’re ideal for travel. £40. Available at Selfridges and Laura Mercier’s counters.

Estée Lauder Beautiful Soap Set

lauderBeautiful is Lauder’s classical perfume, and these soaps scented with its distinctive blends of green tuberose, rose, jasmine and woods are likewise memorable.  $25. Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom and other Lauder counters.

Dr. Hauschka Luxury Moments Gift Set

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Dr Hauschka’s holiday set includes Moor Lavender Bath Essence 100ml, Rose Body Moisturiser 10ml, Rejuvenating Mask 5g and Hand Cream 10ml. £24. Available at pharmacies and Selfridges.

In the US, www.drhauschka.com offers other interesting kits, including a set of 4 products: Rose Nurturing Body Wash, Lemon Lemongrass Vitalizing Body Wash, Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Wash and Almond Soothing Body Wash (10ml each) that’s currently on sale for $8.96. A great stocking stuffer!

Serge Lutens Lèvres en Boîte

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I’m adding these Serge Lutens lipstick palettes as eye candy, because at 145 €, it’s well above my makeup budget. Even the regular lipsticks, 70 € a pop, would be an unjustifiable extravagance. For that money I could get a train ticket from Brussels to Paris and still have enough change to buy a pastry at Ladurée. But the three new palettes feature different shades of beige, plum and red. I made the mistake of sampling the red palette at the boutique and loved the colors and textures.

Holiday Gift Ideas : My Favorite Candles

Holiday Gifts Ideas : Perfume Sets

If you want more ideas, please also see EauMG’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Natural Beauties.

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90 Comments

  • Jenna: I want the iris soap myself! It looks so pretty. December 11, 2013 at 7:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t of too many other iris scented soaps, and yes, a package of Rance’s soaps ends up in the shopping basket for myself too. :) December 11, 2013 at 11:13am Reply

  • Annikky: This must be the best Christmas Gift guide I have ever seen, I love everything – especially Rance soaps, Balmain nail polish (how did I miss that in Lafayette??) and the lip balm. I also agree with every word on YSL Glossy Stains. While I don’t always get on well with Dr Hauschka’s products, I do like the lavender ones. The Lavender Sandalwood body wash is something I would recommend without hesitation: wonderfully creamy and beautifully scented.

    I am almost ashamed to admit that I bought the darkest Serge Lutens lip palette as a Christmas gift to myself. There is still a blank space in my brain where the price and rationale of that purchase should be. December 11, 2013 at 8:01am Reply

    • Natalia: Maybe you can help me. My husband is going to Paris for a conference in January and he said he would buy something from SL for me. What do you think of the palette? Does the lipstick last well on you? December 11, 2013 at 8:11am Reply

      • Victoria: I’m sure Annikky will share her impressions, but what it’s worth, my observation is that the lipstick is very long lasting. Again, I have the carded samples, but even so, the colors are very pigmented and you don’t need a lot to create a bright lip. If you apply the lipstick, blot and then apply some more, it will stay on your lips the entire day. December 11, 2013 at 11:40am Reply

      • Annikky: Natalie, I’ll do some proper testing tomorrow and let you know. My first impression is that the quality is very good and the colours are great (I love very dark lip colours and these aren’t that easy to find), but I personally wouldn’t buy it just for that – it is an object of luxury and beauty that I enjoy having as a piece of (applied) art. Comparable performance can be bought for much less. December 11, 2013 at 2:25pm Reply

        • Victoria: Well, Annikky, if anyone gives a better justification for owning Serge Lutens’s makeup, it must be you. :) December 11, 2013 at 5:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m eyeing the Balmain nail polish set right now and trying hard to fight temptation to keep it for myself. But since I already have enough polishes to paint the town red, I probably don’t need it. On the other hand, the presentation is great, and I liked the quality and how long it lasted when I tested it.

      Oh, enjoy your palette! The colors are superb. I have a sample set of dime sized lipsticks that came with mom’s purchase of Iris Silver Mist, and I must say that the quality is impressive. December 11, 2013 at 11:38am Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: Thanks for putting this together, Victoria. This is supposed to be ‘gift ideas’ but as I’m reading it, I’m thinking ‘I want that myself!’, well except the shaving set. :-) I’m obsessed with cats (I think it’s because I can’t actually have one) and that Paul & Joe eyeshadow is so adorable! It’s too cute to be used in my opinion like those Lindt bunnies which are too cute to be eaten. I have a question about the YSL gloss. Is it also quite moisturising? I might get one for my mum. December 11, 2013 at 8:41am Reply

    • Andrea Marie: I do not find them to be very moisturizing. They tend to dry my lips out a bit, but not as much as most “long wear” lipsticks/glosses. The best combo I have found for dry lips (which I have in the extreme) is By Terry Baum de Rose and their Jelly lip stain (can’t think of the name, but it is Jelly something…). The colors are beautiful and I have a Baum de Rose in a tube for my purse. It is pricey, but is the ONLY thing I have found that works for dry lips and I have tried it ALL. (Soap and Glory gloss is good but I don’t like the strong scent.) December 11, 2013 at 10:08am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I had the opposite experience: my lips were dry and are now moistured by YstL Glossy Stain. It is absolutely perfect. The colour doesn’t change on your lips, even after a couple of hours, it doensn’t smell and the colours are beautiful. My favourite (also with smoky eyes) is No 106 Beige Anarchist. I used to hate lipgloss, but a friendly SA give me a sample of this YstL. She was right and I bought it. December 11, 2013 at 11:28am Reply

        • Victoria: I also never liked gloss, mostly because I hated the tacky feel and that my hair would stick to it. I don’t know how exactly they make these stains exactly, but they really stay glossy and not all sticky. December 11, 2013 at 11:52am Reply

        • Anne of Green Gables: Another vote of confidence! I’ll definitely check them out at the duty free shop tomorrow. While we’re on the subject of cats, please say hello to your cat, Cornelia. :-) December 11, 2013 at 3:07pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Oh, thank you so much, Anne!
            My cat’s name is Oscar. December 11, 2013 at 4:13pm Reply

        • Patricia: I also love the YSL Glossy Stain. I bought the bright raspberry color, and it is gorgeous. I’m trying to decide which color to try next.

          Pricey? Yes, but totally worth it. I tried a drugstore imitation, and it wasn’t nearly as good. December 12, 2013 at 10:38am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Thank you, Andrea. I noted down your By Terry suggestions for future reference but I think my mum shouldn’t have a problem with the YSL gloss as she doesn’t have extremely dry lips. December 11, 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Paul & Joe’s makeup is very good in general, with or without cats, but this collection is just adorable. My cat loving mom will be very happy with the cat shaped blusher. :)

      I find YSL Glossy Stain to be moisturizing enough. It’s not designed to be a lip balm, but it doesn’t aggravate my very dry lips and I don’t need to use any moisturizer underneath. This is probably why it’s my top favorite lip product. December 11, 2013 at 11:51am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Is that what you’re getting your mum for Christmas? I hope that she likes it. My mum wanted a lip product so this was a perfect suggestion, V. I don’t expect them to be as moisturising as lip balms but I just wanted to check that they’re not over-drying. December 11, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s going to be one of the things in her box. I also have a rose scented candle for her and some books. Unfortunately, I probably won’t see her till the summer, so her present will have to be mailed. December 11, 2013 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Michael: I might treat myself to a new bottle of Frederic Malle eau de parfum for my birthday this year (I’m a Christmas Eve baby). I currently have Une Fleur de Cassie, Carnal Flower, Le Parfum De Therese, Musc Ravageur and Noir Epices. I was given samples of Dan Tes Bras and French Lover a few weeks ago and the former works better on my skin. I also like L’Eau D’Hiver but it’s a very subtle scent, perhaps a bit too light for me. December 11, 2013 at 8:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, L’Eau d’Hiver is definitely on the subtle side. I liked my travel spray very much, but once it was gone, I didn’t feel like getting another one. December 11, 2013 at 11:53am Reply

      • Michael: I wore Dans Tes Bras again today and I have to say that it is really growing on me. The drydown is especially nice – very close to that salty, musky skin scent that it is supposed to conjure up. Forgot to mention that I also tried Dries van Noten (unfortunately they didn’t have any samples) and whilst the gingerbread-ish sandalwood drydown smelled wonderful, I’m not sure the initial blast of lemon and bergamot works on me. December 11, 2013 at 6:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m still on the fence about DVN. It’s beautiful in some stages, but on the whole, I don’t find it satisfying. It also doesn’t seem to project at all. I don’t mind a skin scent, but I at least want to smell the perfume on me time to time. December 12, 2013 at 5:25am Reply

  • Sabine: Wonderful collection of lovely things, and proper girly ;) December 11, 2013 at 9:20am Reply

    • Victoria: :) After a long day of researching aldehydes and terpenes, I was very happy to flip through magazines in search of ideas and cat-shaped accessories. December 11, 2013 at 11:54am Reply

  • rosarita: Lovely eye candy, thank you for putting this together. For myself, I’m most tempted by the Andrea Garland lip balm, I’ve wanted one of those for years. Not much of a makeup person anymore – good old Revlon lipstick does the job – but it’s fun to look at. The cat lipsticks are a hoot. :-) December 11, 2013 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Aren’t they! I don’t need any lipsticks, but I was happy to buy a couple for gifts. They’re absolutely charming. I doubt I would be able to use them, though, because as Anne said, they’re just too pretty. December 11, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

  • Alicia: I am delighted to say that I wear the same YSL lip stain as you. It is a marvel. I have tried several, and this is certainly the best. December 11, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Do you wear the same colors? I also forgot to mention No 11, which is a deeper red with a hint of blue. December 11, 2013 at 11:58am Reply

      • Patricia: I just checked the number on mine: it is #15 Rose Vinyl, a bright pinky/fuschia, much brighter than I usually wear, but very pretty. Highly recommended. December 12, 2013 at 12:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m writing it down, Pat! As you can see, I’ve stuck very close to that range–7, 10, 11, with 31 being the only outlier. :) My mom has a pale pink shade that looks beautiful on her, but I don’t remember what number it was, 1 or 2 perhaps. December 12, 2013 at 1:19pm Reply

      • Alicia: Victoria, mine is N. 9, a warm red. December 13, 2013 at 4:26am Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: The 3 ”rebel nudes” are wonderful as well, and not so nude, rather intensive colours. I love my beige anarchist, and am tempted to buy naughty mauve! (no 106 and 107). December 13, 2013 at 7:08am Reply

          • Patricia: Naughty mauve sounds perfect. I’ll have to find a swatch of that one online. December 13, 2013 at 8:57am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you. I’ll have to check it out, as you can see many of my favorites are in that range. December 13, 2013 at 8:43am Reply

  • Andrea Marie: I love your list, V! I almost did not even look, as I am now awaiting my order of Balmain hair silk spray courtesy of the last list. I am almost through with my shopping, and just have to purchase for a few men in my family, which means that the only reason I have to read this list is for…me. This might be called my List of Temptations! December 11, 2013 at 10:15am Reply

    • Andrea Marie: The pillbox/lipgloss is now on backorder from the manufacture… But they still have others! V, have you tried this lipgloss? Do you like it? I think you are the one who started me on my By Terry habit! December 11, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

      • Victoria: That’s too bad! But I imagine that they’re very popular, especially around the holidays. It makes for a pretty gift, and the price is quite reasonable.

        I haven’t tried the lip gloss, but the lip balm inside the pillboxes is very nice. Oh, and it’s refillable. You simply melt your favorite lipbalm and pour it into the box. Cool, let it set and voila, a pillbox with whatever balm you want! December 11, 2013 at 12:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: I just checked over at Beautyhabit, and they still have Crinoline lady, Seaside Girl and Squirrel available. The squirrel design looks like the illustration from the Russian fairy tale books. December 11, 2013 at 12:23pm Reply

        • Andrea Marie: What a great idea! I will definitely try that… December 13, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I hope that you will enjoy the Silk Perfume. It’s such a great product, and because of it, I was inspired to explore other Balmain beauty things. Please let me know what you think when it arrives! December 11, 2013 at 12:00pm Reply

      • Andrea Marie: I just got it today! It is very strongly-scented, but with the type of scent that I tend to favor. I thought it would be rosier but it is still nice. Powdery and clean/fresh at the same time. Like smelling a blast of fresh cold air… It did make my hair greasy, though. I have blonde hair (which seems to show “greasy” more than dark hair) and I had straightened it, so I think that made a difference. In the future, I will mist at far-range. I was just too excited and immediately misted it without even using a mirror! I like it. Thanks do much for the recommendation. I will mention that the pretty bulb sprayer cost extra, I forget how much but enough so that (as the spray wasn’t a gift) I did not indulge in buying it. I’ll think of you when I use it! December 13, 2013 at 2:30pm Reply

  • solanace: You made me laugh with your mistake chez Lutens. Sounds like the story of my life – I do that a lot with wine… December 11, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

    • Victoria: At the boutique it almost seems reasonable that a lipstick could cost that much. :)
      But seriously, I’m not too much of a makeup addict to covet it. As long as I have my YSL stains, I’m safe from other lipstick temptations. December 11, 2013 at 12:05pm Reply

      • Solanace: I used to smoke (quite a lot), so I tend calculate these prices in cigarettes. It’s an efficient enabling strategy, since smoking is not that great a deal to begin with. 150 Euros? Two weeks or so of Marlboros. Totally “reasonable”, lol! December 11, 2013 at 8:00pm Reply

        • Victoria: I was scanning the shelves at the duty-free shop not long ago, and when I spotted the prices on cigarettes, I did a double take. So glad that nobody in my immediate family smokes (for many other reasons besides price, of course)! December 12, 2013 at 5:19am Reply

          • Lynley: Prices here in Aus are unbelievable- a pack of 25 cigarettes for almost $25!!!! I stopped buying them when they rose to about $8! December 14, 2013 at 10:44am Reply

  • maja: I have too many nail polishes and lipsticks already and most of these are beyond my budget so I don’t suffer ;) I’ve been very careful about what I use on my body which means Dr Hauschka would be my perfect Christmas gift. And anything Frederic Malle actually. For myself obviously. :) December 11, 2013 at 12:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t suffer from too many temptations over makeup these days, but I’m happy to treat the makeup fans among my friends and family. But these maybe the famous last words, because I just bought the new issue of a Japanese makeup magazine Biteki and they always feature something unusual in it. Of course, it helps that it’s not available for purchase in Europe. :) December 11, 2013 at 12:08pm Reply

      • maja: You got me googling Biteki and swatches of Glossy Stains. I am “torn” between 7, 12 and 27. December 11, 2013 at 4:55pm Reply

  • Jillie: I just love everything on this list, and want it all for me!! I particularly like the idea of the iris soap and the kittie lipsticks look fun, if not particularly practical. You must have enjoyed compiling your shopping guides. December 11, 2013 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: I really did! It was fun to imagine to whom I would give what.

      The cat shaped lipstick didn’t practical to me, but my friend says that the ear is very useful for drawing the line. :) December 11, 2013 at 12:20pm Reply

  • george: Does Viola get a christmas present? December 11, 2013 at 1:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Viola the cat is too spoiled as it is! Right now, she is enjoying running through the snow and catching snowflakes with her paws. December 11, 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

      • Michael: That is such a cute image! LOL I’m guessing she won’t be subjected to the indignity of wearing a pair of reindeer antlers during the festive season. December 11, 2013 at 6:45pm Reply

        • Victoria: No way! Even if my mom would want to do something like that, Viola would protest too much. One time my brother tried putting a little Santa hat on her, but within minutes she tore it to shreds.

          Here she is, looking pensive:
          null December 12, 2013 at 5:23am Reply

          • Andrea Marie: I had a cat that looked like that, he was a rescue kitty but his look told me that a Russian Blue was in his lineage. They are known to be very loyal to one person; he was like a baby to me. Yours seems just as sweet! December 13, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

          • Michael: Awww Viola looks so adorable! I think we should make her the official mascot of this blog. ;-) December 14, 2013 at 10:00pm Reply

  • Hannah: A South Korean company (TonyMoly) has lipstick in a cat tube, so you can use it without ruining the cat. I don’t wear lipstick but I do have oily skin, and they just happen to have blotting paper in a cat compact.
    I don’t know anything about the brand except that they have cutesy packaging. December 11, 2013 at 1:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: At my local Korean store, there are lots of things decorated with this kind of cat:
      null

      They have weekly planners, agenda books, notepads, pens, iPhone cases, etc. It’s all so cute that it crosses the line into quirky. December 11, 2013 at 2:17pm Reply

      • maja: Nooo, that is too cute! :) December 11, 2013 at 2:36pm Reply

        • Victoria: Hello Kitty seems pretty staid next to these ones. :) December 11, 2013 at 2:39pm Reply

          • maja: I’m in love with Choo Choo now. December 11, 2013 at 3:36pm Reply

            • Victoria: I can just imagine why! I believe that one needs a dose of cute and silly to mix things up. :) December 11, 2013 at 5:44pm Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Now this is freaky. I actually thought that you and other cat lovers would love to have a look at it so I was going to post a link and you beat me to it! Here’s the company website for this brand: http://www.jetoy.co.kr/. I have their name tags for my suitcases.

        There’s a brilliant Korean artist called Mariecat who specialises in cat paintings. Her paintings are really beautiful. You can have a look at her blog if you’re interested.: http://blog.naver.com/ongchunmom/40192051646. Her paintings have been also turned into various products. December 11, 2013 at 2:54pm Reply

        • Victoria: We’re on the same wavelength. :) I have a stack of post-it notes with white Jetoy cats and red roses. Flipping open one of my textbooks on chemistry and seeing a cat post-its marking the pages always makes me smile.

          Off to take a look at Mariecat’s blog! December 11, 2013 at 3:30pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Beautiful drwawings, Anne! The tabby on p.10 can’t let go is a little bit like my Oscar. December 11, 2013 at 4:22pm Reply

            • Victoria: Oscar must be very handsome! December 11, 2013 at 5:41pm Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: Oscar is a classic tabby tomcat beauty! December 12, 2013 at 5:23am Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: How do you know about TonyMoly, Hannah? I didn’t know that they were available outside Korea. December 11, 2013 at 3:00pm Reply

      • Hannah: I have internet friends from SEA (the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia) and they’re all obsessed with Korean makeup. They did lipbalm in packaging to make it look like a lil macaron and I was tweeted a link because I love macarons. One of my friends from Malaysia even mailed me a box of macarons once (I didn’t ask her to, btw). None of them own the products so I don’t know if it is available in their countries. December 11, 2013 at 6:04pm Reply

  • Austenfan: What a lovely and quirky collection of gifts.
    My favourite has to be the Rancé soaps. Although I did wonder what triple milled soaps actually signifies, googling it enlightened me a little but I am still kind of puzzled.

    The cat shaped lipsticks are fun! Although it seems almost a shame to use them. December 11, 2013 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Triple milling refers to how many times the soap mass goes through the process of grinding and heating. Imagine it like kneading the bread dough. The more you knead it, the smoother and firmer it gets. Same with soap, the more times it’s ground, the firmer the resulting bar becomes. Basically, whenever you see the mention “triple milled,” it usually means that the bar will last well in the shower and won’t melt into a gooey puddle in its dish. December 11, 2013 at 5:54pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Thank you, I knew you would come with a satisfying explanation. :) The soaps are seriously tempting.
        I have been trying to find a European shop that sells them, but so far have only come up with US e-tailers. I will keep on looking though, I love a little “hunt”, if it’s for the right product. December 12, 2013 at 4:16am Reply

        • Victoria: I’ve made my share of soaps as a perfumery student, although none of them were triple-milled! The reason the triple-milled soaps are more expensive is that it makes much longer to make one bar. When I made soaps, I basically took the mixture and stamped out the bars directly. It was good enough to test how the perfume oil I chose would evolve, but such bars didn’t last all that well in the shower.

          If you find where Rance is sold in Europe, please let me know. I recall seeing the brand at one of the perfume boutiques in Paris, but I can’t recall which. December 12, 2013 at 5:14am Reply

          • Lynley: I made some soap. once. many years ago- honey and oatmeal. I put them in the laundry to dry and came back later to find that mice and decided they were rather tasty! I bet they had bubbles coming out of them for days!!! Lol December 14, 2013 at 10:52am Reply

            • Victoria: They were some nicely perfumed mice! One of my memories of my great grandmother is her sawing off the mice bitten edges of soap from the storage. We would squeal and refuse to bath with such soap, but she was the hardy product of the war years and she could care less. That’s how I learned that mice adore soap. December 14, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

            • Austenfan: That is funny, I can just picture those “bubbly” mice. December 16, 2013 at 7:52am Reply

  • annemariec: On my budget, the Creme de Corps might be all I can manage. I have a small bottle at the moment and I like it a lot. Do you find it a tad greasy to start with Victoria? I do, but once it is absorbed my skin feels marvellous.

    Apart from that I am tempted by the glossy lip stains. They sound terrific. And I had noticed the Beautiful soaps already in an email from EL, but the Australian price on that set is $49, nearly DOUBLE the US price. Ack. December 11, 2013 at 10:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s definitely greasy when you first apply it, but then it absorbs into the skin within a few minutes. It’s the most luxurious body product I have, and at its price, it’s such an affordable luxury too.

      $49 is a highway robbery! Those are nice soaps, but not at that price. December 12, 2013 at 5:16am Reply

      • Lynley: Aus prices for cosmetics and perfume are totally insane, up to 3 or 4 times the US prices. I like good quality cosmetics but won’t pay $100 for a Dior palette, so I try them here and buy online- and the retailers wonder why everyone’s buying from o/seas.
        On another note, I was given 3 of those Laura Mercier body souffles as a gift a few years ago. Very sweet but the texture is lovely- rich yet silky. I only used them in cool weather at night, and the fragrance would still be extremely strong the next morning. December 14, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s too much, of course. In Europe some American brands like Clinique, Lauder, Mercier, are much more expensive, and when I had to buy some Lauder makeup, I had a surprise at the cash register. The markup is significant! December 14, 2013 at 11:14am Reply

  • BlinkyTheFish: I once bought an SL lipstick on a whim, and when it came, I was shocked. I don’t remember how many grams it was, but the packaging made it look as if it were a quarter size of a gift with purchase size lipstick from any other brand! The tiny size made it really difficult to handle and apply (and I have small fingers!), which just annoyed me beyond belief. It was a lovely colour and texture, but nothing that you couldn’t get from a good high end brand like Chanel, Tom Ford, YSL. Never again! I do love those YSL gloss stains – not a fan of gloss, but I found that a couple applications to build the colour and then a light blot resulted in a fabulous long wearing stain. I think the one I have is the orange de chine shade. And thank you for saying Great Lash does nothing for you! I always felt like I had defective eyelashes, the way everyone goes on about it’s the best formula ever. December 12, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

    • Victoria: I was wondering about the size. I’m using the carded samples right now, and I like some colors very much. But as you and Annikky commented, it’s true, you can probably get similar performance from other brands. And with YSL stains, I don’t even feel like buying any other lipstick now.

      :) You certainly don’t have defective lashes; it’s the Great Lash that has some issues with it. December 12, 2013 at 1:12pm Reply

  • Lynley: All this talk of the YSL glosses has got me wanting to try them. I rarely use lipstick as it dries my lips out, so usually just use Clinique Chubby Stick or Chanel Coco Rouge Shine. Are the glosses a similar texture, if anyone has tried both? December 14, 2013 at 11:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Very different texture! Both Chubby Sticks and Rouge Shine have very light texture and they are transparent, even if the colors are rich. The Glossy Stains are thicker, more pigmented. I wouldn’t buy them without trying, because you may not like the texture if you’re used to something as light as Chubby Sticks. Those are my favorites too for days when I want a light wash of color, and my Chubby Stick is called Strawberry something. December 14, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

      • Lynley: Thanks Victoria, I admit I like both for the texture and because they’re so low maintenance, but the idea of a full colour that doesn’t need reapplying sounds great, I’ll write them in my errands list for tomorrow :-) December 14, 2013 at 9:43pm Reply

  • Aisha: As a cat lover and owner of two black cats, that collection from Paul & Joe looks like the perfect (purrfect?) gift from me, to me. ;-)

    I agree about Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Body Moisturizer. It’s excellent! December 14, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I decided to go back to the store to pick up the eyeshadow palette for me, but it was already sold out. Oh well, I probably wouldn’t be able to use it, since it’s so cute. :)

      Wishing you and you family Merry Christmas! December 16, 2013 at 6:58am Reply

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